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Pages 143-148

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From page 143...
... Radioactive waste isolation is also a topic of considerable interest and concern to the general public, and it is important that the public understand the basic concepts underlying the design and operation of the WIPP facility. This appendix aims to descnbe the WIPP project clearly and concisely by using a "nonspecialist" approach that is, one that avoids specialized technical terminology as much as possible to discuss salient issues pertaining to the project.
From page 144...
... This specification can be translated approximately for nonspecialists as follows: the expected waste inventory is of the order of 6 million curies, and the permitted release fraction of plutonium239, the dominant radioactive isotope of concern, is 0.0001 of that, or 600 curies. This is the same as a mass of Pu-239 of about 20 pounds.
From page 145...
... The other seven scenarios involve human intrusions ~) of three kinds, alone and in combination, and with various frequencies.
From page 146...
... Evidence from the German waste isolation program, which is also considering a salt repository, suggests that plutonium solubility in brine is likely to be low, but it is important to ensure that the brine at WIPE, which is different chemically in some respects from the Ge~.~an brine, behaves in a similar fashion with respect to solubility. HYDROLOGY ABOVE THE SALADO FORMATION Some scenarios specify that the radionuclidecontaminated brine will be under sufficient pressure to be transported upward into strata above the repository, where it mixes with water of lower salinity, forming a "plume" of contamination.
From page 147...
... A major gap is the lack of attention to a possible radionuclide contamination route through the Dewey Lake Red Beds, in which the water is known to be potable for both humans and livestock. Although a unique definition of the properties of a deep regional system is neither attainable nor necessary, the committee believes uncertainty about some critical issues could and should be reduced further.
From page 148...
... For a repository disturbed by human intrusion, when evaluated on the basis of reasonable expectation of intrusive activities and their consequences, and using models that would implement available engineering features and do not make overly conservative assumptions, the consensus of the committee is that the WIPP repository could be shown by DOE to comply with the EPA standard. Compliance with the EPA standard does not address human exposure for the disturbed case.

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